Lightly revised version of the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up hits the mark

What is it?

It's a lightly revised version of the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up, a vehicle largely responsible for the growth in popularity of long-cab pick-ups that can double as work vehicles and passengers cars.

Overall the L200 is still the biggest-selling pick-up in the UK but it's the more comfortable double-cab lifestyle variant (rather than the utilitarian 4Work version) that's of interest to us.

Notably, the range-topping Animal version of the double-cab is no more, replaced by the range-topping Barbarian, which now comes with a 175bhp derivative of the 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine and the option of a five-speed rather than four-speed automatic gearbox as tested (a manual is standard).

There are also detail design changes to the grille, minor alterations to some trim, a bigger box-section on the ladder chassis to increase its rigidity, and a new stability control system.

What's it like?

Still fairly utilitarian. Don't come at an L200 expecting conventional-SUV levels of refinement; remember that this is at its heart a rugged workhorse and on Mitsubishi’s Commercial Vehicle price list.

So what you get is a leaf-sprung, separate chassis 4x4 with a one-tonne payload and the space to fit a pallet on its rear deck. Mitsubishi insiders refer to it as a truck rather than a car, and that's how best to think of it.

The diesel motor is a bit of a grumbly thing but has no shortage of torque. The 0-62mph claim is 13.0sec in auto form (a second shy of the manual), and while there's the option to makes shifts on the auto yourself, you might as well let the 'box get on with it. Shifts don't come silky smooth and the motor is vocal at higher revs, so it's best not to work it hard and just make relaxed progress.

Dynamically, too, the L200 feels like a rugged old thing. Because it can take such a heavy payload the rear springs are stiff, so the ride can crash when it’s unladen, but once up to speed it settles down – though there's quite a bit of wind noise.

At only 1.8 metres wide the L200 is susprisingly threadable, and its turning circle is good too, although it takes more than four and a half turns to reach from one lock to another, so there’s plenty of wheel-twirling to be done at any speed.

In top-spec Barbarian form, the L200 gets creature comforts including satellite navigation, a reversing camera and an electric rear window that allows access to the load bay. There's also leather trim, which lifts what is otherwise a fairly basic-trimmed cabin. The driving position itself could use going lower, with a steering wheel that adjusts higher, but the seats themselves are fine.

Should I buy one?

Maybe: if your weekday activities demand you carry loads outside the vehicle, and you need the ruggedness. It’s competitive with its peers. But as with all cars of its type, remember that at its heart it's a working rather than leisure vehicle.


Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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gabbo 24 June 2010

Re: Mitsubishi L200 4Life Barbarian

hottoddster wrote:
Suggest people use this site to review the vehicles and not the people who may or may not buy them.....much more useful

completely agree!

This is my first post on here, and looked at this because i am thinking of getting one. I previously owned a Hilux auto, it had an unreliable auto which kept boiling even when empty and not towing, the interior space in the rear is tiny, and the load area is reduced with a double cab.

These are not only a lifestyle choice but also a personal choice - as with most things we purchase, cars or any other product.

In response to some comments about the hilux getting bigger engines, it isnt going to happen. Theyve only recently upgraded the auto to 5 speed, the more car based vehicle LC (not amazon) has just been re-vamped with the same 3.0d4d, which isnt a great engine as it suffers from injector rattle, and is thirsty.

hottoddster 1 April 2010

Re: Mitsubishi L200 4Life Barbarian

Well I have taken delivery of mine and despite what people think I have managed to suppress the need to drive flat out over unmade roads and round blind corners! The truck is lovely to look at and commented on quite a few times. Have given it a good run down the motorway and worked out it returned 32MPG at a consistent speed of around 70-80mph. The sat nav system is better than any tom tom i've had and connectivity is fantastic. Downsides though - rear camera has a weird perspective that makes it difficult to judge initially - but good old fashioned mirrors can rectify this! Also the truck would really benefit from a 6th gear, other than that it really is a fantastic spacious pleasure to drive! Suggest people use this site to review the vehicles and not the people who may or may not buy them.....much more useful!

Fresh45 28 March 2010

Re: Mitsubishi L200 4Life Barbarian

Glad to see someone can throw an ounce of sense on the subject. I take delivery of my shiny Barbarian this week and can't wait. I,ve bought one for its versatality amongst anything else. Makes sense to me. Sounds like most of these comments come from guys that clearly have a warped idea of what these trucks are for. Its not all about work, its a lifestyle choice as well.